THE FORTUNE LADY

 
By Celine Rose Mariotti

 

 

 

Miss Ellie Wilcox was known all over her small town of Bellhop, Mississippi as the lady who could see the future and tell you your fortune. Nearly everyone in town valued her gift for knowing what was to come. Miss Ellie Wilcox sat in her living room and concentrated deeply while the incense burned and the candles flickered.  Mr. Madison was a steady customer and a very superstitious man.  He didn’t make a move without going to see the Fortune Lady first.  He was a highly respected businessman in town who owned three stores which all did very well.  Mr. Madison sat for his reading-his third one this week.

“What is it you are looking to know Mr. Madison?”

“I’m afraid the older I get Miss Ellie, the more superstitious I have become. I got a bug in my head that my wife is going with another man. Look in the cards and let me know if that’s true.”

“Miss Ida is untrue? Give me your hand. I feel very strong vibes and they are telling me your wife is evil.” Ellie laid out her tarot cards and looking at them she got a somber face. She looked deep into Mr. Madison’s eyes. “You are not going to like what I see in these cards. Your wife is having an affair and the cards tell me she is plotting against you.  I see a man, a tall man with dark hair and a mustache. He is not to be trusted. Does such a man work for you Mr. Madison?”

“Kelsey Brant.  He is one of my Managers.”

“Watch him.  He’s deceiving you.”

“What else do you see Miss Ellie?  Whatever it is, I can take the truth.”

“I see a child. A little girl. Is your wife pregnant?”

“Yes, she is.”

“She is going to have a girl.”

“I always wanted a daughter.”

“I see something else. I see papers. A contract, I think. Someone is going to make you a very big offer in the weeks ahead.”

“What kind of offer?”

“I’m not sure but it’s not what you think. I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay. Thank you Miss Ellie. I will be back in a few days.”

“That will be $75.00 for today Mr. Madison.”

“Sure, no problem. I brought cash for you.”

“Yes, I prefer cash.”

Mr. Madison walked out of her parlor and into the sunny streets of Bellhop, Mississippi. His next stop was the diner since it was almost lunchtime and he was pretty starved. When he took a seat at his favorite table, Wilbur came over and joined him.

“Did y’all go see Miss Ellie again?”

“I sure did Wilbur.”

“What she tell y’all this time?”

“That I have enemies and one of them is my wife.”

“Do you believe all that hocus pocus she tells you?”

“It is not hocus pocus. She has given me some good information over the years and that is why my business is always thriving.”

“You really are superstitious, aren’t you?”

“I sure am.”

“I wouldn’t get too carried away with that kind of thing. Why would your wife be giving you the business anyway?”

“She’s a sneaky lady my wife. I’m going to find out what she is up to.”

“I hope you know what you are doing Sam.”

“Don’t worry Wilbur I know what I’m doing. Trust me.”

“Okay. Let’s order our lunch.”

Wilbur and Sam had been business partners for years. They had two department stores in Bellhop and they were growing bigger all the time. Now Sam and Wilbur were thinking of expanding and opening another store in Hattiesburg. Yes, business was good. Sam dug into his sandwich and drank his coffee. Wilbur did the same. After lunch, they both returned to the department store. Sam found a letter in his pile of mail that looked unusually interesting. He opened it and found a contract inside. Just what Ms. Ellie had told him in her reading.

He read the contract and discovered that the Atley Appliance Stores wanted to partner with him and expand their business as well. The contract seemed like it was legitimate but Sam was suspicious. He hadn’t spoken to anyone at Atley Appliance Stores. Who sent this contract, he wondered. He had to call his lawyer, Clay Bacon, and see what he had to say about it. But old Miss Ellie was right on the money once again. She was probably right about his wife Ida as well.  That was something he would have to investigate and he would have to keep a sharp eye out for his wife. Sometimes some women just can’t be trusted. His wife Ida did have a devious streak in her. His Mom never liked Ida but he was too in love with her to ever see her bad qualities. Too many times she had gone behind his back and pulled stunts on him. Like the time she put a down payment on a small yacht without telling him and the man selling the yacht wanted the remainder of the money up front within a week – money that Sam simply did not have at the time. Things like that made him nervous about Ida.

His attorney, Clay Bacon hurried over to see him. Clay was always in a rush. He walked briskly, he talked fast, his eyes twitched a lot, and he constantly smoked one cigarette after another. But he had a keen mind and knew the law well.

“Good afternoon Sam. Let me see that contract you mentioned to me on the telephone.”

“Here it is, Clay. I knew nothing about this ’til this envelope arrived today. I had no negotiations with these people.”

“Hmm, seems unlikely to me that a company would just send you a contract to sign without having some kind of negotiations with you first. Let me look this over for a few minutes. I smell a rat here.”

“Want some coffee?”

“Sure would. Coffee is good for my nerves.”

“Still getting those bad headaches Clay?”

“Yeah, I am. I made an appointment with the doctor today.”

“I saw Miss Ellie today. She predicted that something like this would happen to me. She’s always right in her predictions. She told me to beware of my wife Ida too.”

“You listen to Miss Ellie, don’t you?”

“She has never failed me. She always tells me my future and it happens just like she says.”

“I went to see her once and she told me I was going to have kidney problems and I did. I guess she does know a thing or two about the future. But I kind of get the creeps from that sort of thing,” muttered Clay smoking his cigarette and reading the contract.

“What about that contract Clay?”

“Well, I’ll tell you this much right now. Don’t sign it. This looks like some kind of a scam. I have to do some research and I am going to take this contract with me. I’ll get back to you soon.”

“See you later Clay.”

The day passed by and Sam drove home in his Mercedes-Benz. He pulled in his driveway and saw Kelsey’s car parked there. Sam put the key in the door and entered his home. The light was on in the living room, and the laptop was on, but there was no one there. He heard voices coming from his study and he went to see who was there and he listened at the door.

“Look Kelsey, we put this scheme together and once he gets that contract, he will think it is a good deal and he will sign it. But once he does, and he hasn’t read the fine print, we own his department stores and you become the new President of the company. And I will divorce Sam and you and I will be filthy rich together,” said Ida, leaning over to kiss Kelsey on the lips.  Kelsey kissed her back and he held her for a while. Then he said, “All of our dreams are going to come true Ida. I will be the big man in town and not Sam.”

Sam backed away and tiptoed from the door and went outside. He took out his cell phone and called his attorney Clay Bacon. “Clay, I got to see you. Can we meet at the boat house?”

“Sure, about ten minutes or so?”

“Yeah, that’s perfect.”

“I’ll see you in ten minutes Sam.”

Sam started up his Mercedes Benz and drove away. Ida never noticed.  She was too busy kissing Kelsey and making plans. Sam met Clay at the boathouse.

“Clay, I got big trouble. My wife Ida and Kelsey are the ones who sent that contract and they are trying to take my business and take my money.  Miss Ellie was right about everything.”

“Take it easy okay. There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat. Good thing going here is you did not sign anything. What we have to do now is prove that that contract was a scam of your wife’s and Kelsey’s and then we turn the tables on them.”

“Okay. I trust you to help me with this.”

“Don’t worry pal, I will. Just sit tight and don’t let anyone know you’re on to them. Get my drift?”

“I sure do Clay. Thank you.”

“No problem Sam.”

With that Sam drove over to see Miss Ellie Wilcox again. He told her what had happened and asked her to tell him the future again. He just had to know what would happen in his life.

“Miss Ellie! I need your services again! It’s an emergency!”

“I thought you would be back soon. You got an envelope today with some kind of legal document, yes?”

“Yes, Miss Ellie, that’s right and I’m being set up by Kelsey and my wife.”

“Yes, there is deceit all around you. You must be strong. But there is someone, a stranger who is going to intercede for you.”

“A stranger?”

“Yes, you will meet her tomorrow. She will be the answer to your prayers.”

“What about Clay? I can trust him, can’t I?”

“Yes, Clay is a good friend and he is giving you good counsel.”

“Thank you Miss Ellie. How much will that be?”

“Twenty-five dollars.”

“Here you go Miss Ellie.”

“Wait one moment. I have a lucky coin to give you. It dates back to the Roman days. It will give you luck and it will protect you.”

“Thank you, Miss Ellie. I’ll keep it in my pocket.”

“Godspeed Mr. Madison.”

“Good-night Miss Ellie.”

Sam was at his office bright and early the next morning. Wilbur came by and they sat and talked for a moment. Wilbur was shocked at what Sam told him about the contract and about Kelsey and Ida.

“She really is going behind your back. Gosh, I never would have guessed she was that kind of a woman. I guess her and Kelsey are having an affair after all just like Miss Ellie told you.”

“Yes, I think so which makes me wonder whose baby she is carrying.”

“Wow! You got problems Sam. If there is anything I can do, just let me know.That wife of yours is a witch!”

“She sure is. Help me keep an eye on Kelsey.”

“Sure thing. No problem. Consider it done.”

“You’re a good friend.”

“So are you.”

Wilbur took a stroll around the store and pretended to bump into Kelsey. Kelsey seemed nervous about talking to him and kept trying to walk away while Wilbur addressed him.

“Say Kelsey, you doing okay here?”

“Yes, yes of course. Why wouldn’t I?”

“Just asking. Making sure the store is running in tip top shape as always.”

“I am one of your best managers and you know that.”

“Do I now?”

“Yes, you do Wilbur.”

“Consider yourself a loyal employee here?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Not one of those folks who have their eyes set on bigger pastures?”

“Well, of course I have high goals set for myself.”

“Like maybe owning your own store someday.”

“Maybe, yeah sure, why not.”

“You wouldn’t manipulate to do that would you now Kelsey?”

“Am I being accused of something? What’s with all these questions?”

“No, just having a conversation with you. See you later Kelsey.”

Kelsey was quite uncomfortable after talking with Wilbur. What did he know about his plans?  Were they already on to him? Kelsey finished up his work and headed off to see Ida for some more plotting and scheming. Meanwhile, a rather tall, attractive brunette with big green eyes and long flowing hair, with a headband to keep it back, dressed in a white cowboy style pants suit, took a seat in Sam’s office and waited for him to come back. She had information that would send Kelsey and Ida both packing.

Sam was surprised to see this pretty woman sitting in his office but then he thought of what Miss Ellie said about a stranger helping him out.

“Can I help you with something Miss?”

“Miss Jordan, yes, Mr. Madison but I’m here to help you as well. My grandfather owns Atley Appliance Stores and we just found out that your Kelsey Brant had a somewhat disreputable lawyer draw up a contract saying that we wanted to partner with you. That is not true and if my grandfather did want to partner with you, he would have called you on the telephone and set up a meeting. We don’t want any trouble. I think you should know that your employee is giving you the business.”

“Thank you, Miss Jordan. I have my lawyer working on this and we know that Kelsey is behind this fraudulent contract. I will deal with him immediately and I’m sorry if you and your grandfather were upset by all of this. Lord knows I’m very upset especially since I found out yesterday that my wife and Kelsey are having an affair and scheming this whole thing behind my back to try and steal my business away from me. I sincerely thank you for coming over and I hope you might oblige me in trapping both Kelsey and my wife into a confession. Would you help me Miss Jordan?”

“Certainly Mr. Madison.”

“Call me Sam.”

“Call me Prudence.”

That night, Sam, Wilbur, Clay, and Prudence set up their own sting operation. But they needed Miss Ellie to come along. Her psychic abilities would be most useful in trapping both Kelsey and Ida. So both Miss Ellie and Prudence made believe they were investing in Madison-Bellman Department Stores. Miss Ellie placed the call to Kelsey.

“Mr. Kelsey, my friend and I would like to meet and discuss investing in Madison-Bellman’s Department Stores. We hear you might be the new owner?”

“Yes, yes, but who told you?”

“A very reliable source at my investment company. He knows your associate, Miss Ida.”

“I see. Well, how much do plan on investing? I didn’t get your name.”

“Miss Caty Belmont. I’m a friend of your lawyer, Mr. Monti.”

“Oh, Alex. Yes he is putting this deal with Atley Alliance Stores together for us.”

“Isn’t that wonderful! Could you meet us at Minnie’s Seafood House?”

“Certainly. What time?”

“7:30.”

“We’ll be there.”

At 7:30, Clay, Sam, and Wilbur were waiting along with Sheriff Brownstone and his deputy.  They sat in the booth directly in back of where Miss Ellie and Prudence were sitting.  Kelsey and Ida didn’t see them as the booths were high and Sam had a big Cowboy hat on to hide his face.  So did Clay and Wilbur. They ate their fried oysters and listened to the conversation. They had a bug planted underneath the booth where Miss Ellie and Prudence were sitting.

“Miss Belmont, so nice to meet you.” said Kelsey, sipping on his ice cold beer.

“I have guided many people to their future. Lizzy and I are planning our own future and we understand you are going to take over Madison-Bellman Department Stores.  We want in on the whole deal. We have cash to give you for our investment,” said Miss Ellie (known to them as Miss Belmont) taking out an envelope from her pocketbook. She spread the $100 dollar bills across the table in front of Kelsey and Ida. Ida played with her necklace and seemed almost frightened that Miss Belmont had this inside information.

“How did you know about our takeover of the company?” she questioned.

Miss Ellie took out her tarot cards. “See these cards. They tell me everything I need to know.”

“And we want in on this deal. We want to make money along with you,” said Prudence (known to them as Miss Lizzy) taking a bite of her shrimp cocktail.

“We can’t believe this. The news isn’t out yet and we have investors. Well, you have to keep this all a secret ladies. I’ll count your cash and we’ll be in touch,” said Kelsey. Just then Sheriff Brownstone stood up and his tall physique towered over their table.

“I don’t think you’ll be taking over any company, Kelsey, Ida. You’re both under arrest for fraud.  Let’s go!” With that his deputy helped him handcuff Kelsey and Ida and Sam watched as his wife was taken away. He sat down with Miss Ellie.

“How can I thank you!”

“I will read your cards.” With that Miss Ellie spread the tarot deck on the table and she saw great things ahead for Sam.

“This card tells me you will soon run for office and you will be representing us in Congress.  Your business will expand and Wilbur will run it for you. You will meet a new woman in your life. Much happiness is ahead for you.”

For Sam, his whole life was in the hands of the Fortune Lady.



Celine Rose Mariotti was born in Derby, CT and is a lifelong resident of Shelton, CT. Her first poem was published in 1991. Since then her work has appeared in many literary magazines around the USA as well as in India, Australia, Thailand, Scotland, and England.  Her latest book is a young adult science fiction book entitled, “I Have a Friend on Jupiter!” published by WriteWordsInc.com. It is also available as an e-Book.

“Minister’s Shoes,” a mystery published by WriteWordsInc.com, is the first in her Rev. Castle series.  Other titles written by Ms. Mariotti include “Adventures on Capitol Hill–The Kidnapping of Senator Andy Thompson” and “The Murder of Secretary Judd Cane.”

For more information, visit her website at:  http://crmenterprises-homebusiness.com/.

Copyright 2015 Celine Rose Mariotti. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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